During a CNN appearance on Tuesday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) asserted that “there’s a difference” between attacks carried out by Muslim extremists and attacks carried out by white supremacists or other attackers who aren’t Muslim.
While discussing President Trump’s list of 78 attacks his administration thinks haven’t been sufficiently covered — a list conspicuously devoid of attacks perpetrated by white supremacists, Islamophobes, or right-wing extremists — CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked Duffy, “Why isn’t the president talking about the white terrorists who mowed down six Muslims praying at their mosque?”
“I don’t know, but I would just tell you there’s a difference,” Duffy replied. “You don’t have a group like ISIS or Al Qaeda that is inspiring [attacks] around the world. That was a one off, Alisyn.”
Camerota challenged him on the point, noting that attacks like the Oklahoma City bombing and the mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston in 2015 were perpetrated by “white extremists.” But Duffy insisted those attacks aren’t equivalent with acts perpetrated by Muslim attackers.
“So you give me two examples, right. And in recent times, we’re going to talk about the one example,” Duffy said. “That’s different than the whole movement that has taken place through ISIS and inspired attacks.”
Camerota: Why isn't the president talking about white terrorism?
Duffy: There's a difference. https://t.co/YEgSitUsdS
— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) February 7, 2017
Duffy’s comments overlook the fact that a person in America is seven times more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist than a Muslim attacker. In Duffy’s home state of Wisconsin in August 2012, a white supremacist killed six during a mass shooting in at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek. But Duffy didn’t mention that. He also ignored the role Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric played in a proliferation of hate incidents across the country since the election.
During a CNN appearance in July, Duffy — a former Real World cast member who has represented northwest Wisconsin in Congress since 2011 — acknowledged the Trump phenomenon for what it is: identity politics for white men.
While opining about Trump’s RNC-closing speech, Duffy said, “There’s a viewpoint that says, ‘I can fight for minorities, and I can fight for women,’ and if you get that, you make up a vast majority of the voting bloc and you win. And white males have been left aside a little bit in the politics of who speaks to them.”